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Being and Motion$
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Thomas Nail

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190908904

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190908904.001.0001

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Writing I

Writing I

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Chapter:
(p.285) Chapter 21 Writing I
Source:
Being and Motion
Author(s):

Thomas Nail

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190908904.003.0024

This chapter argues that writing did not emerge out of nowhere. It took thousands of years for it to rise to its place of kinetic dominance, particularly toward the end of the ancient period. Writing emerged, like the concept of eternity, through four similar kinetic operations, resulting in a reproducible pattern of centrifugal motion. These operations were not evolutionary or developmental. Three of the four sections in this chapter look at one of the four major kinographic operations as it emerged during a certain time: the introduction of the first tokens of the ancient Near East, dating from around 8500 BCE, around the time of the invention of agriculture; their storage in clay spheres around 3700–3500 BCE; and the first abstract inscriptions as numbers (3400 BCE) and pictographs on tablets (3300 BCE). The fourth of these operations, the creation of written letters in alphabetic systems around 1850 BCE, will be addressed in Chapter 22.

Keywords:   writing, tokens, tallies, tablets, spheres

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